(UPDATED) The Department of Health (DOH) has ordered the transfer of a family of foreigners visiting El Nido to the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) to be tested after manifesting flu-like symptoms in relation to the novel coronavirus (nCov).

Health regional director Dr. Mario Baquilod said to Palawan News in a text message Friday that the foreign patients will be transferred to a facility in the ONP that will handle their examinations.

“Confirmed na may suspected case. We will send suspect patients to ONP. Mayroong facilities, team, and isolation ward doon,” Baquilod said.

He said a team of epidemiologists will also be sent to El Nido on Saturday, January 25, to look into the matter. Baquilod did not give any more details about what will be the team’s activities in the town.

Baquilod’s order came in the wake of reports that a family of three from Wuhan, China that is vacationing in the town showed flu-like symptoms — a 10-year-old girl manifested having the flu, while the father has an inflamed throat.

Documents obtained by Palawan News from a source said the father is a Brazilian national, while the rest are Colombian.

The report said the family arrived on January 22 in El Nido after landing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on January 21.

Also this week, a report that a female Russian national with a history of travel to Wuhan was investigated for suspected symptoms related to the nCov, but Dr. Allan Guintapan said she turned negative upon validation.

Meanwhile, DOH assistant regional director Dr. Ma. Vilma Diez said it is not going to help if people panic. Instead, everyone should practice proper hygiene and keep their immune system strong by avoiding cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and doing drugs.

“Wag silang mag-panic at baka ma-stress sila, kapag stressed sila baka bumaba ang immune system nila kasi wala naman tayong confirmed cases. DOH is on alert, as well as ‘yong ibang mga agencies para hindi makapasok itong virus sa Pilipinas. Kung nagpapanic ang publiko ay ‘wag po ganoon. Nagawa at nalampasan na natin ang SARS at MERS-CoV kaya imposible na hindi natin ito malalampasan,” she said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.